Two shots of Patrón as I leave

for Lisa’s Mormon family

Christmas party. In her pink

kitchen, I drink root beer,

eat Amish fruitcake, and meet

her new husband,

a missionary. Married

over the summer

in Joseph Smith’s white

phallus. I’ve been scared

to see her since the wedding,

afraid to find her pious,

wifely. But she’s still the same

sweet girl in granny glasses.

A family friend leans across

the granite countertop,

tells me his opinion of

“the homosexual situation.”

My hot palms, tequila-scented

sweat. Lisa, in the corner,

opens the black casket

of our friendship. The sad,

sour smell of mildewed velour,

neglected brass, musk

of a high school music room,

those days we watched our faces thin

and fatten in our trombones’

yellow metal, playing “Take Five”

and “Fly Me to the Moon.”

Now, “Finlandia,”

a song from an old workbook.

“It’s really a hymn,”

her dad says, “Be Still My Soul.”

“Finlandia,” Lisa says, and we play

slowly, badly, dumbing

down to the same

off-key. We’ve always found

this neutral ground, never

speaking of God. Collecting

Freckle Pelt and Treeflute lichen

for fairies, a stick and a rock

for a unicorn skull. We both believed

in tulip bulbs, guerrilla

gardening on our high school’s

front lawn. And trombone –

its potential to weep

or bellow. When the song

ends, we pull back,

smiling, touching

our swollen mouths. Shy,

as if we’d been kissing.

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